Narrator: This is Science Today. For the first time, a genetic mutation responsible for causing a devastating heart disease in cats has been identified. Mark Kittleson, a veterinary cardiologist at the University of California , Davis , says the disease is called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Kittleson: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a primary disease of the heart muscle where the muscle of the left ventricle of the heart gets too thick over time and because its so thick, its not well-nourished by blood supply, so some of the heart muscle dies off over time and is replaced by scar tissue and so the left ventricle then becomes stiffer than normal. So it has to fill at a higher pressure and that causes all sorts of potential problems – heart failure being one of them.
Narrator: Kittleson's group studied a colony of Maine Coon cats with this heritable disease, but it's the most common heart disease in all cats. The hope is, now that there is a mutation identified the disease can be tested early and eventually wiped out in breeds that are affected. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.